Packaging, recycling will reach 75% in 2024

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For the current year, the percentage of packaging recycling in Italy should reach close to 75%: over 10 million 300 thousand tonnes of packaging waste will find a second life, i.e. 74.9% of what is released for consumption, which in 2024 it is expected to be around 13 million 900 thousand tonnes. It is the first official estimate from Conai for this year, released on the occasion of World Recycling Day, which is celebrated on 18 March.

European targets reached early

«The public announcement of forecasts to the media on the occasion of World Recycling Day is now a tradition – explains the president of the Consortium Ignazio Capuano – And we can say that 2024 begins under good auspices. The second half of 2023 seems to have closed with a strong contraction in the amount released for consumption, due to the crisis linked to the difficult international context, which however should not have been followed by a similar contraction in recycling. According to our first estimates, 2024 will see recycling grow both in absolute and percentage terms. And reaching 75% recycling means having exceeded the objectives that Europe is asking for by 2030 six years early. Furthermore, according to the latest Eurostat data, Italy is competing for leadership with Germany in terms of per capita recycling of waste packaging”.

Growth for all materials

The reference context remains problematic, also due to the international conflicts that continue to expand and the uncertainty on geopolitical dynamics, but 2024 should be a year of growth in recycling percentages for each individual packaging material. The forecasts speak of 77.8% for steel (409 thousand tons), 73% for aluminum (64 thousand tons), 85.6% for paper (4 million and 298 thousand tons), 65.1 % for wood (2 million and 130 thousand tons), 52% of plastic and compostable bioplastic (1 million and 183 thousand tons, of which approximately 51 thousand of bioplastic), and 85.9% of glass (2 million and 325 thousand tons ).

From recycling to eco-design

«Prudence remains a must, however – says Capuano – and this is not the time to go overboard with triumphalism: the international scenario does not allow us to do so». In fact, 2024 will remain a year marked by great uncertainty, which will most likely lead Italians to limit consumption also to replenish savings. «We expect a reconfiguration of choices and places of purchase, which however should not affect the recycling sector too much, particularly packaging. Also because the expectation is that all the players in the supply chain can continue to commit themselves more and more to improve the results in this branch of our circular economy. From citizens who will have to carry out separate waste collection with ever greater attention to quality, to local authorities who will have to develop collection systems to guarantee increasingly better results and to plants which select and recycle waste, up to those who carry out research to improve both recycling technologies and the eco-design of packaging”.

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